Do you have a younger sibling?
As a middle child, I know what it’s like on both sides. To have an older sister who, more often than not, drives me crazy, and to have to deal with someone who I often wish I could knock some sense into.
Since I know what it’s like on both ends of the spectrum, I wanted share one of the very important things I’ve learned.
We, as big sisters and brothers, have a great impact on our siblings’ lives!
How We Influence Our Siblings and Why
A few years ago, I realized that I looked up to my older sister a lot more than I ever thought.
I looked back on my short life and realized that when she would do something, I always wanted to do it too. When she had something, I wanted to have that thing too. When she would go somewhere, I wanted to go there with her. When I had a problem, next to mom and dad, she was usually who I would ask for advice from.
This isn’t a bad thing. Being born seven years before me she was (obviously) older, more experienced, and smarter. So it’s fairly easy to see why I looked up to her. She was a take-charge kind of girl, and had an army of three behind her—me and my two younger siblings.
Then she began college. Guess who the two little siblings looked up to then?
It didn’t help that my Mom had happened to break her collarbone around that time. Also my Dad was working nights, and was usually sleeping, at work, working on things at home, and constantly exhausted.
I had to step it up. And when I stepped it up, so did my little brother and sister.
As an older sibling, whether you realize it or not, your little brother or sister looks up to you. Yes, they are often annoying, they do press your buttons, and can get you in trouble. Yet, to them, you’re the next big thing to Mom and Dad.
Whether you realize it or not, your younger siblings put you on a pedestal. For example, I tried something once, just as an experiment. I started saying “dude.” Not exactly a big thing, but what happened was surprising.
When I began to make “dude” a regular part of my vocabulary, so did my little brother. He saw me saying something, and thought, “Hey, my big sister is saying ‘dude.’ That sounds like a good idea. I’ll do that too!”
Even if we don’t realize it, we do influence our siblings! Whether we influence them in a good or bad way depends on us. On the way we speak, act, and respond to different situations. If we have a bad attitude about a situation, our younger siblings will most likely have a bad attitude as well.
My pastor often says: “We are not an island unto ourselves.” The meaning is clear: our choices affect others. Our siblings and our close family are most affected by our choices than anyone else.
As not only siblings, but children of God, we’re like a rock dropped into the water. Each part of our lives has a ripple effect. You are not an island unto yourself! Your choices, words, actions, and attitude affect everyone around you–your siblings more than nearly everyone else.
How Can I Be a Good Role Model For My Siblings?
“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to his word…Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalm 119:9, 11)
If we, as older siblings, want to be a good role model for our siblings, we must first cleanse ourselves and our ways.
In changing the bad attitudes and responses we have, in cleansing ourselves, we then become someone for our siblings to look up to. How do we do that? “By taking heed thereto according to his word.”
In being mature in God’s ways, we not only set ourselves on the path of being Godly young people, but we also give our siblings a Godly example to look up to.
Are your actions affecting your siblings positively? Are you a Godly example for your siblings? Ask yourself.
If you’re having a bad attitude towards your parents, teachers, or peers, you’re setting a bad example for not only your siblings, but everyone around you. Your siblings can tell when, and if, you’re being serious for God, and trying to do right.
Yes, doing the right thing is hard. Sometimes we fail, and feel like our mistakes are just way too big to be fixed; but that is when trying shows that we’re real. If we try to do right, especially when things are hard and often seem impossible, we will not only grow personally in our walk with God, but we will teach our younger siblings—and ourselves—perseverance.
A saying I once heard that has always stuck with me is: our character is not defined by the fights we do or don’t win, it is defined by the fights that we dare to fight.
If we try to do what’s right, even when it’s hard, we will impact everyone we’re around. And since we live with our siblings, they will see when we’re truly trying. If we act right, our siblings are more prone to act right too. Do not be surprised if when you begin acting right, not arguing with authority, and being respectful to your parents, they begin to as well. If they see us change for the better, they will be way more likely to feel compelled to change for good too.
Be a good example.
Remember, you have little siblings who look up to you. What kind of example are you setting?